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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 29, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: good evening. i'm geoffrey brown. supreme court nominee elena kagan was pressed today by her decision to bar military recruiters at harvard. >> ifill: i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, day two of the supreme court nominee's confirmation hearings. we have full coverage of the proceedings plus analysis from marcia coyle of the national law journal. >> brown: then interrupts from
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another confirmation hearing, this one for general david petraeus, the newly named u.s. commander in afghanistan said the u.s. has a long-term commitment to the war. >> it is going to be a number of years before afghan forces can truly handle the security tasks in afghanistan on their own. >> ifill: we examine the fallout from yesterday's arrests of 11 alleged russian spies living undercover in the united states. >> brown: ray suarez talks to film maker carol dysicker. her documentary explains whether afghan army troops are trained and ready. >> a lot of what i saw and came away feeling was not that there was so much something wrong, you know, with them as much as there was something kind of wrong with our expectations. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by
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chevron. this is the power of human energy. bnsf railway. and by the bill and melinda gates foundation, dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your
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pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: in her second day before the senate judiciary committee, supreme court nominee elena kagan was challenge on her beliefs for academic track record and the major legal issues of the day. newshour correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> reporter: the nominee took her seat at 9:00 a.m. on day two of the hearings and in short order she was being pressed by alabama republican jeff sessions. he attacked kagan's decision as dean of harvard law school to block military recruiters. she had objected to the military's don't ask don't tell policy against gays in the military. >> they were stone walled. they were getting the run-around from harvard. by the time they realized that you had actually changed the policy, that recruiting season was over. and the law was never not in force. i feel like you mishandled that.
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i'm absolutely confident you did. >> senator sessions, if i might, you had suggested that the military lost a recruiting season but in fact the veterans organization did a fabulous job of letting all our students know that the military recruiters were going to be at harvard during that recruiting season and military recruiting went up that year not down. >> reporter: but sessions disputed kagan's version of what happened and whether her actions actually violated federal law. >> i know what happened at harvard. i know you an outspoken leader against military policy. i know you acted without legal authority to reverse harvard's policy and deny those military equal access to campus until you were threatened by the united states government of loss of federal funds. this is what happened. >> i respect, indeed, i revere the military but i also felt a need to protect our... to defend our school's very
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longstanding anti-discrimination policy and to protect the men and women, the students, who were meant to be protected by that policy: the gay and lesbian students who wanted to serve in the military and do that most honorable kind of service. >> reporter: kagan also spared at length with arizona republican jon kyl over her past praise of the late justice thurgood marshall. she clerked for him in the late 190s and has written of his approach to the law. >> you said in justice marshall's view constitutional interpretation demanded above all else that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised and disadvantaged. what's unclear to me is whether you agree with justice marshall's view of the role of the court in constitutional interpretation. >> justice marshall's whole life was about seeing the courts take seriously claims that were not taken seriously any place else.
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so in his struggle for racial justice, you know, he would go to the state houses or he could go to congress or the president and those claims generally were ignored. >> let me just ask you, do you believe then-- and it's hard, i realize that you certainly know... you know justice marshall very well. you knew his reasoning. -- that he would have agreed with justice roberts that if the big guy has the law on his side the gig guy wins and if the little guy does, the little guy wins. is that consistent with what justice believed? >> the twoints ... two points. i don't want to spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out what justice marshall said to any question because the most important thing... i love justice marshall. he did an enormous amount for me. if you confirm me to this position, you'll get justice kagan. you won't get justice marshall. that's an important thing. >> i totally agree with you.
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it's not what justice marshall believed that's important here. it's what you believe. sense you have written so glowingly about him. you called his vision of the court a thing of glory, i believe. >> the thing of glory, senator kyl, is that the courts are open to all people and will listen respectfully and with attention to all claims. and at that point the decision is what the law requires. there may be differences as to what the law does require. but it's what the law requires. that's what matters. >> reporter: for his part committee chairman patrick leahy turned to the issue of gun rights. he pointed to yesterday's supreme court decision and another two years ago which broadly backed the right to bear arms over local limits on gun ownership. >> is there any doubt after the court's decision in heller macdonald that the second amendment to the constitution secures the fundamental right for an individual to own a firearm, use it for self-defense in their home?
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>> there is no doubt, senator leahy. that is binding precedent entitled to all the respect of binding precedent in any case. so that is settled law. >> reporter: later california democrat dianne feinstein returned to the gun issue. >> california is not vermont. california is a big state with royaling cities. it's the gang capital of america. the state has tried to legislate in the arena. so here's my question to you. why is a 5-4 decision in two quick cases, why does it throw out literally decades of precedent in the heller case in your mind? why do these two cases become settled law ? >> senator feinstein, because the court decided them as they did. once the court has decided a case, it is binding precedent. i think that that's an enormously important principle
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of the legal system . that one defers to prior justices or prior judges who have decided something. and that it's not enough, even if you think something is wrong, to say, oh, well, that decision was wrong. they got it wrong. >> reporter: feinstein also raised the issue of abortion rights under the landmark decision roe versus wade and subsequent rulings. >> here's the question. do you believe the constitution requires that the health of the mother be protected in any statute restricting access to abortion ? >> senator feinstein, i do think that the continuing holding of roe and doe versus bolton is that women's life and women's health have to be protected in abortion regulations.
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>> reporter: herb kohl offered up the names of two current justices and tried to get kagan to say which came closer to her views. >> justice scalia considers himself to be an originalist who interprets the constitution by looking solely at the text. he rejects the notion of a living constitution and only gives the text of the constitution, quote, the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people in 1787. in contrast justice souter has criticized this purely textual approach as having, quote, only a tenuous connection to reality. he believes that the plain text of the constitution as written in 1787 does not resolve the conflict in many of today's tough cases . rather, justice souter believes judges must look at the words and see, quote, to understand their meaning for living people. which view of the constitutional interpretation comes closer to your view and why? >> senator kohl, i don't
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really think that this is an either/or choice. i think that there are some circumstances in which looking to the original intent is the determine tiff thing in a case. other circumstances in which it is likely not. i think in general judges should look to a variety of sources when they interpret the constitution and which take precedence in a particular case is really a kind of case-by-case thing. >> reporter: the morning session went on for nearly four hours. solicitor general kagan answerd some questions and declined to answer others. after a mid afternoon lunch break senators were back at it with democrats probing gently and republicans challenging kagan on her views on major legal issues. republican charles grassley of iowa sounded out the nominee on the role of international law in u.s. courts. >> should judges ever look to foreign law for, quote unquote, good ideas? >> i guess i'm in favor of good ideas coming from
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wherever you can get them. but i don't think that foreign law should have independent precedential weight in any but a very, very narrow set of circumstances. so i would draw a distinction between looking wherever you can find them for good ideas, for just to expand your knowledge of the way in which judges approach legal issues; but makinging that very separate from using law as precedent or independent weight. >> reporter: amidst tense exchanges there were also humorous most as when pennsylvania democrat arlen specter asked about televising supreme court proceedings. >> i think it's always a good thing when people understand more about government rather than less. certainly the supreme court is an important institution and one that the american citizenry has every right to
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know about and understand. i recognize that some people, some justices may have views to the contrary. i would want to hear those views and to think about those views. but that's sort of my going-in thought. >> if it appeared on television this year on c-span, many of them have appeared over the years selling books and being in a variety of situations. >> it means i'd have to get my hair done more often, senator specter. >> uh... let me commend you... (laughing) . let me commend you on that last comment. i say that seriously. you have shown a really admirable sense of humor . i think that is really important. as senator schumer said yesterday , we're looking for
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somebody who can moderate the court and a little humor would do them a lot of good. >> reporter: after a late afternoon break, kagan returned to the witness table. she faces another day of questioning when the hearings resume tomorrow. >> brown: judy woodruff has been anchoring or gavel to gavel coverage of the hearings today. she joins us now from capitol hill. judy. >> woodruff: i'm here again overlooking the judiciary committee hearing room with marcia coyle of the national law journal. marcia, this is day 2, the question day. the republicans tried to pin elena kagan down on a number of things. jeff sessions, who is the ranking republican on the committee, went after once again her policy of ... at harvard while she was dean of the harvard law school of limiting the access that military recruiters had to law students. how far did he get? >> well, i think he may have scored some points just partly
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because he was so persistent in trying to make it clear that he believes that she actually violated a congressional statute. the solomon amendment . after a federal appellate court had made a ruling finding that the statute was unconstitutional, elena kagan went and returned to harvard's prior policy of not granting the military equal access. she tried to explain that she really wasn't violating the statute, that she returned to a policy that she believed the department of defense had okayed basically for a number of years before that court challenge. >> woodruff: it came down to, in part, it came down to deference to a circuit court, an appellate court ruling, that said was the reason she changed. why are they spending time on that issue? we've heard a number of different issues brought up:
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gun rights cases is another. we've heard several of the republican senators bring those up. why are they ticking... picking these particular issues? >> basically they don't have a whole lot to go on. she's not been a judge. they don't have cases that they can look at to try to discern how she will be as a supreme court justice. they found areas that they think will genuinely concern them or that they feel reflect that she may be more activist than she has been portrayed by the administration. the military recruiting issue is also something that they feel will resound with the public. the administration i think though has been well prepared for this. they've been able to counter. she's been able to explain her position as well as show broad support from military veterans who attended harvard. that's been the case with other issues, too, that the republicans trieded to raise today.
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>> woodruff: it's been republicans and democrats, marcia, who have tried to pin her down on positions that she might take now. in a couple of instances they said what do you think is an ordinary citizen of course that's fraught. if these confirmed she would be on the supreme court. overall i think it's fair to say she's done a pretty good job of not getting specific in her answers. >> i think so. i think it's been a pretty good day for her because she obviously has grown more comfortable as the questions proceeded. comfortable with her ability to answer those questions and also you can tell she's comfortable because she's injected a lot more humor in the process than we've seen in past confirmation hearings. in a sense, judy, she almost reminds me of the hearings somewhat of for chief justice john roberts. he also came in very confident,
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was able to talk about the law and just had a very approachable demeanor. that's how she has been today. >> woodruff: at this point late in the day on the second day of hearings, there is only one more republican at this stage who we will hear from. so when they come back for a second round tomorrow, it's really at this point not clear what they're going to choose to go back to. what issues. >> absolutely. i think they may try to go back to military recruiting, at least the republicans will because that's where they feel she's somewhat vulnerable. we've seen the issues in this hearing are very much the issues that are on the plate of congress. the gun issue will continue. it will get to the supreme court again because even though the court, one, recognized an individual right to have a gun under the second amendment, two, yesterday applied that to the states, there's still going to be a
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lot of litigation over what kind of gun regulations pass constitutional muster. that's where they were trying to get a sense of where she is. she did say yes it's settled law. but that's as far as she can go right now. >> woodruff: and the committee will continue. today was the second day. tomorrow we know that they are going to continue with another round of questions trying at this point we think to wrap it up. marcia coyle with the national law journal, thank you. >> my pleasure, judy. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour general david petraeus and the war timetable. the russian spies among us and the afghan fighting force. but first with the other news of the day here is hari sreenivasan in our news room. >> sreenivasan: wall street went back into meltdown mode today over new worries about economic growth. the sell-off started earlier in asia. it intensified domestically after news that u.s. consumer confidence fell sharply this month. the dow jones industrial average lost 268 points to
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close at 9870. the nasdaq fell 85 points to close at 2135. joining me now from the floor of the new york stock exchange is susie gharib, anchor of the nightly business report on pbs. thanks so much for being with us. >> a difficult day today at the new york stock exchange. >> sreenivasan: walk us through how that trickleded over from asia and all the way over to the u.s.. >> there's been a lot of nervousness about the outlook for the u.s. economy all along and for global growth. what worried everybody today was that overnight there was a report saying that the chinese economy, the pace of growth is going to be slowing down. as you know, china has been a powerful driver of global growth. if china's going to slow down there are a lot of questions about the potential for global growth so the shanghai markets sold off. european markets followed. then the u.s. markets followed because of that consumer confidence report that came out showing a big drop in consumer confidence. guess what the big worry is there? jobs. everybody is worried about the outlook for the job market. >> sreenivasan: is that
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consumer confidence number reflective of what's been happening to the overall market. it's been six months and down about 12%. a lot of times the market seems to be going side ways. >> if your house is worth less and the prices are down your stock portfolio is less your confidence about growth in the future becomes, you know, worrisome. the big question now is will i be able to get a job? will i be able to keep my job? there's an important jobs report coming out this friday. it's expected to show that the economy lost jobs in june. this will be the first time for this year. that's worrisome. the headline numbers 115,000 jobs lost. you have to remember some of that is primarily due because of a consensus workers being removed from the payrolls. investors will be dissecting that report very carefully on friday . >> sreenivasan: citigroup had a big sell-off at the end of the day. >> you're right. shares were halted here at the new york stock exchange at 1:03 eastern time because of a
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big drop in shares mysteriously 17% down. so circuit breakers kicked in. five minutes later it was realized this was an erroneous trade. the trades were canceled. shares resumed at 1:08. by the closing bell the stock was down about 5%, 3.73 on citigroup shares. the new circuit breakers that regulators put in, they're working. today was evidence of that. hopefully if this situation happens again it will prevent one of those flash crashes that we saw in may from happening. >> sreenivasan: anchor of the nightly business report on pbs, thanks so much. >> great talking to you. >> sreenivasan: house and senate negotiators will reconsider part of their deal on financial regulation reform. the bill needs 60 votes to advance in the senate but several key republicans now oppose a fee on big banks and hedge funds. the bill lost the democratic vote with the death of west virginia senator robert byrd. president obama voiced confidence today after meeting with federal reserve chairman ben bernanke. >> senators hopefully on both
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sides of the aisle recognize it's time we put in place rules that prevent tax payer bailouts and make sure that we don't have a financial crisis that can tank the economy. i think there's going to be enough interest in moving reform forward that we're going to get this done. >> sreenivasan: on another front the top economic officials at the united nations called today for less dependence on the u.s. dollar. they said the global financial crisis exposed the danger of relying entirely on u.s. monetary policy. the u.s. supreme court has reaffirmed a ban on unlimited giving to political parties. the ban against so-called soft money was a key part of the 2002 overhaul of federal campaign finance law. last january the court allowed corporations, unions and other groups to fund federal elections. the republican national committee unsuccessfully argued political parties should have the same rights. tropical storm alex has forced crews in the gulf of mexico to halt their oil spill clean-up operations. high winds and
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waves up to 12 feet have stopped. efforts to burn and capture the oil leaking from the deep sea well continue. the storm itself is far away heading toward the mexico-texas border for a possible land fall on thursday. meanwhile vice president biden was in the region. he toured a command center and met with officials including coast guard admiral thaad allen. google announced today it will stop redirecting its users in china to an unfiltered search site in hong kong and instead will give them a link to use those same services. the company shut down its china-based search engine in march to avoid censorship but the chinese government threatened not to renew google's operating license which expires wednesday. the world governing body for soccer fifa will consider using video technology including instant replay after all. the announcement today followed a storm of criticism on sunday a referee disallowed a goal by england that was clearly inside the net. hours later an or general tine a player scored a goal even though he was clearly in front of his mexican opponents
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making him off side. the president of fifa apologized today but also urged patience. >> when you see the evidence , the mistakes, but i have to come back. this is not the end. the end of the competition. it's not the end of football. >> sreenivasan: later soccer officials announced the two referees who made the blown calls will not be working any more games in this world cup. those are some of the day's major stories now. back to gwen. >> ifill: the senate armed services committee today endorsed the president's choice of general david petraeus to lead u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan. the nomination goes now to the full senate. today's vote, however, followed a hearing that focused more on war policy than on war personnel. president obama's choice to run the war in afghanistan received praise at his confirmation hearing today. >> you're an american hero. >> ifill: in his opening statement general david petraeus said the task in
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afghanistan remains clear. >> we cannot allow al qaeda or other transnational extremist elements to once again establish sanctuaries from which they can launch attacks on our homeland or on our allies. achieving that objective, however, requires that we not only counter the resurgent taliban elements who allowed such sanctuaries in the past. we must also help our afghan partners develop their secure forces and governance capacity so that they can overtime take on the tasks of securing their country and seeing to the needs of their people. >> ifill: but if there was little debate about the president's choice to succeed ousted commander stanley mcchrystal there remains considerable disagreement about the policy he is expected to execute which includes reducing u.s. forces in afghanistan one year from now. petraeus, defense secretary gates, and the president have all said the july 2011 deadline would only be the beginning of the end of u.s.
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involvement. >> we did not say to starting july 2011 suddenly there would be no troops from the united states or allied countries in afghanistan. we didn't say we'd be switching off lights and closing the door behind us. what we said is we begin a transition phase in which the afghan government is taking on more and more responsibility. that is the strategy that was put forward. >> ifill: petraeus em fa sisesed the notion of that transition phase. >> it will be a number of years before afghan forces can truly handle the security tasks in afghanistan on their own. the commitment to afghanistan is necessarily therefore an enduring one. neither the taliban nor afghan and pakistani partners should doubt that. >> ifill: but several republicans continued to warn against setting timetables of any kind. arizona senator john mccain.
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>> what our friends and enemies in afghanistan and the region need to hear is is that the withdrawal of u.s. forces from afghanistan will be determined solely by conditions on the ground. if the president would say that success in afghanistan is our only withdrawal plan, whether we reach it before july 2011 or afterwards, he would make the war more winnable and hasten the day when our troops can come home with honor, which is what we all want. >> ifill: democrats like carl levin of michigan said some kind of timetable is essential. >> that july 2011 date imparts a necessary sense of urgency to afghan leaders. about the need to take on principal responsibility for their country's security. we saw in iraq the importance of setting dates as a way of spurring action. general petraeus has said that he agrees with the president's policy, setting that july 2011
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date, and indeed he told me if he ceases to agree that he would so advise his commander in chief which of course he has a responsibility to do as a military commander. >> ifill: but republican senator lindsey graham said the administration has sent mixed messages. >> the vice president has been quoted as saying about this particular topic, come july, we're going to begin leave in large numbers. you can bet on it. is his view of the policy correct? >> secretary gates has said, i believe in testimony, that he never heard vice president biden say that remark either. for what it's worth. >> well, it's worth a lot because he's saying one thing to one person allegedly and he's saying another thing to you. they don't reconcile themselves. that is exactly my point. it depends on who you seem to be talking to. because a lot of liberal people in this country are being told directly and indirectly we're getting out
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beginning july 2011. how fast, i don't know, but we're beginning to leave. somebody needs to get it straight without doubt what the hell we're going to do come july because i think it determines whether or not someone in afghanistan is going to stay in the fight. (gun fire). >> ifill: for now that fight is still a struggle. control of the southern district of ... remains uncertain despite a u.s.-afghan offensive there months ago and the planned offensive in the taliban stronghold of kandahar has been delayed. even in kabul security is shaky. just today an afghan man working for the united nations was shot and killed in his vehicle at a busy traffic circle in the afghan capital not far from the u.s. embassy and an american military base. and in a new report, the special investigator general for afghanistan now says u.s. officials have overestimated the ability of the afghan military and police units.
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the assessment released last night says the rating system the military uses to judge the effectiveness of afghan troops has not provided reliable or consistent assessments of their abilities. petraeus conceded the ground war is likely to escalate. >> indeed it may get more intense in the next few months as we take away the enemy's safe havens and reduce the enemy's freedom of action, the inurge sends will fight back. >> reporter: the general plans to arrive in afghanistan by next week to take hands-on control of the war's execution. we'll have more on afghanistan later in the program and tomorrow night we'll have a news maker interview with richard holbrook, the obama administration's special representative on afghanistan and pakistan. >> brown: now to the fallout from that surprising new spy story. the f.b.i.'s arrest of russian agents living and working for years inside the united states. traveling in israel today, russian foreign minister sergei lavrov voiced anger and
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bee rild... bewilderment. >> we have not had an explanation of what this is all about. i hope we will receive one. what i can say now is the timing of this announcement was most elegant. >> brown: back in moscow, the foreign ministry confirmed that the ten suspects arrested in the u.s. as part of an alleged spy ring are russian citizens. in a statement the ministry said these actions are unfounded and pursue unseemly goals. monday the u.s. justice department said the suspects acted as unregistered agents of the russian government. and today an 11th arrest. this one at the airport in larnaca cyprus of a man accused of delivering money to the suspects. >> he presented before larnaca this court and the court decided to release him. after he posted some terms and conditions. actually he paid in cash 26500,000 euros.
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he surrendered his passport. he's not allowed to travel out of cyprus. >> brown: federal court documents unsealed in new york said the spy ring began in the 1990s. among its goals to search and develop ties in policy making circles in the u.s. intercepted messages pressed for information about low-level u.s. foreign policy officials and referred to contact with a new york fpber involved in politics. two of the suspects were asked to learn about president obama's 2009 trip to russia. trying to outline their views and most important mr. obama's goals but the f.b.i. was watching and listening. this weekend undercover f.b.i. agents posing as russian operatives met with two of the defendants in new york and washington. today the son of one of the arrested couples called the charges against his parents preposterous. word of the arrest came just days after russian president medvedev and president obama met in washington and shared a
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cheese burger and pledged to reset relations between the two countries. at the state department today officials said that effort would continue despite the spy case. >> they're moving towards a more trusting relationship. we're beyond the cold war. i think our relations absolutely demonstrate that. but as i say, i don't think anyone was hugely shocked to know that some vestages of old attempts to use intelligence are still there. >> brown: russian prime minister vladimir putin brought up the arrest today in a meeting with former president bill clinton. >> he came to moscow at the right time. the police at home are going out their way putting people in prison. that's their job. i'm counting on the fact that the trend in the relationship will not be harmed by these events. >> brown: average russians reacted to the news. >> this is the way it always was during the cold war.
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thanks to mr. putin this is all still being continued now as it suits our country. that's what i think. as far as our mutual relations are concerned, this can only be bad news. it's not nice for anyone to discover a stranger in their own backyard and naturally the owner isn't pleased. >> brown: detention hearings for most of the suspects are scheduled to begin thursday at various locations around the u.s. what might this new twist mean for relations between russia and the united states? for that we get two views. david kramer is a senior fellow at the german marshal fund. he served as a state department official during the george w. bush administration where he focused on russia and eastern europe. anna vassilieva is head of the russian studies program. born in siberia she's an american citizen. david kramer, i'll start with you. what's your reaction to these arrests particularly the timing in the midst of this larger picture? >> there is no good timing for this kind of event. but certainly the juxtaposition of the pictures of president obama and president medvedev having
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hamburgers together and then seeing pictures of these arrests this isn't what the white house wanted. i think the indications from both moscow and washington are they don't want this upset relations. prime minister putin's comments i think were kaying that he didn't want to see this upset the relationship. i think from the white house as well, they don't want to see this upset the relationship. there's never a good time for this kind of thing. law enforcement officials have to carry out their duties. the timing wasn't great but there isn't much one can do about it. >> brown: your reaction to the arrest, anna, and the time something. >> the timing is very peculiar. as we all know it comes right after what was deemed to be a very successful visit of mr. medvedev to this country. when i read the record of the press conference between mr. obama and medvedev , you know, i could think and smile that the biggest issue between the u.s. and russia at the moment seems to be the issue of
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poultry sales. i thought wonderful times when that seems to be on the top of their agenda. finally russians will be buying american poultry. that's very important. today's news or yesterday's news comes as a wake-up call. it can be interpreted in several ways. again the timing is very peculiar. i looked through a number of russian sources and russian analysts are very concerned. they're particularly concerned by what seems to be an attempt to diminish the positive effects of the the policy of obama's administration. that seems to be the universal concern among the russians. although as any news of espionage always is is very disconcerting and alarming. >> brown: what do you think of that, david kramer? this notion of the time something there was some talk about this. of whether it undermined what had been positive movement. >> there are pretty firm walls between law enforcement
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activities and investigations that are being conducted and the political side of the administration. there can be political influence on investigations. that includes on the timing of announcements of arrest. i think that's what we've seen here. there are a lot of questions about what was going on here. including what these people were doing. why, for example, they were trying to influence or find out about policy in places like i don't thinkers and montclair. and so i think there are a lot of questions that still remain. i don't see a grand conspiracy here by hawks or hard liners in the u.s. administration trying to upset what president obama is trying to do. >> brown: anna, you raised the issue last week they're talking about economic ties. this week we get this news. so moving to the substance of the larger picture here, it continues this question that a lot of people of which is the real rush yaz? and what is the relationship between the two countries now? what's your response? >> it is very difficult to respond to this question.
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i'm not a policy maker. i teach. i have to put a number of perspectives into my response here. i visited russia in march. it's a very different country from what it was five, ten, 15, 20 and certainly 30 years ago. the mentality of the people has nothing to do with cold war. these are people who are looking forward to the 21st century and dealing with the issues of 21st century together with the west. there was not one russia-- and i met a number working around the clock-- who would say that we want bad relations, tense relations with the united states. everyone, scholars, academics, military whom i interviewed students, they want to be one with the west. it's about time for us to understand that we are in the 21st century. the references to the cold war are tempting and alluring but they're not moving us forward.
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there are too many issues we have to deal with together. the russian people are very prepared to deal with those issues together with the united states of america. >> brown: david kramer, can you see them both side by side, the economic ties, the sharing the burger, the visit to silicon valley and then cold war spy something. >> let's remember that the russian prime minister came up through the ranks of the kgb. so we have leadership in moscow that still does have a past that goes back to the cold war days when the u.s. and soviet union and then even russia were competing against each other and spying on each other. some of those habits die hard. i think there is certainly a genuine interest in the obama administration to improve relations. they don't want to see this incident upset the progress they claim has been made with the reset policy but let's also remember that while there may be hard-liners in washington as some russians suspect, there's certainly plenty of hard liners in moscow too including in the
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foreign intelligence service, the domestic agency, there are people in moscow who depend on the need to perpetuate the myth or the sense that the united states is a threat to russia. >> brown: in old days, there would be a retaliation. do you expect that few? >> i do. even though we've heard some rather calm comments compared to previous instances in the past. i do think that there will be another shoe to drop. it didn't happen today but it could happen in the next few days or even in a couple of weeks. i think that will be telling of how the russian government is really going to respond to this . >> brown: what do you see, anna, in terms of retaliation from the russianide and what would you like to see president obama do? >> well, let me first mention that just to add to david's comment and i agree with what he said here. let me just add that we shun for get that the russian president is not putin. the russian president is a representative of a younger
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generation who is the son of professors, who is a lawyer by training. and a person who not once mentioned his commitment to democratic values. that's very important for us not to forget as much as putin influences policy. >> brown: briefly, what do you think will happen next? >> well, again i don't want to speculate. i hope russian authorities will look at the way the case unfolds, you know, nobody knows much at this point. aside from political declarations, you know, there are very, very few facts. we'll know by the end of the week we'll know more. i just hope that both governments would be dignified about it. it's difficult to do but anyone who is informed knows that spying has been going on between enemies. it's one of the oldest professions. so i just hope that the leaderships of two countries
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will see that the agenda that should strengthen the national security interests of both countries move us forward. >> brown: anna vassilieva and david kramer, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally, we return to the afghanistan story. as we noted earlier the u.s. inspector general for afghanistan has issued a report criticizing efforts to build up afghan security forces. for a different perspective on how that program is working, we turn to documentary film maker carol dysinger. she spent months filming afghan military units and the american soldiers trying to train them. ray suarez recently spoke with her. >> suarez: building an afghan military has been one of the central policies of both the bush and obama administrations. progress has been slow and uneven. a new documentary, camp victory, afghan, chronicles american national guard units
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and their work with an afghan corps commander and his troops in the western part of the country. flim maker carol dysinger, a professor of graduate film and new media at new york university's film school spent an extensive amount of time in afghanistan between 2005-2008 and joins me now. you got in , well, on recruiting day. to be able to chronicle the life of an army from day one is a pretty amazing experience. >> yes. well, it was an amazing experience. i was very lucky to have the time to be able to sit there . i think the advantage i had and the access i got came from the fact that i could be there for so long and film for so long. sfaurz you make the. >> suarez: you make the point almost from the opening frames of the film that this is more than just getting young men to join the army. this is something starting behind square one. there's not really quite a
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country yet. why don't we take a look at that. >> okay. >> joining the national army is not just a privilege for one group. no ethnic group is stronger than another. this is an afghan army. understand? you get equal privileges. your contract is for three years. did all of you come here voluntarily? all of you? take the grenade. throw it. a grenade. take a grenade. throw it there. grenade. move over here. what a shame. they are filming you. keep your muzzle in so it can't be seen.
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kneel down. i see you stanng there. okay. >> suarez: these guys give new meaning to the words raw recruit. the officer says what a shame. they're filming you. this access is that i was a woman. so i had no position. nothing had to be proveded to me. they called me professor. so i fit into their pantheon, you know. also, i liked these young men. they're young men. they're students. i'm a teacher. i felt they were raw recruits. many of them had never been out of their villages before. they'd never seen an american before. but they were game.
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you know, they were willing to give it a try. >> suarez: their trainers from the vermont national guard put great stock in trying to raise that literacy rate from one out of five adult young men to something higher than that. but early in the film they were frustrated in their efforts to get people to tag learning to read seriously. we go to see that as well. >> right now we've got to get the soldiers to the 4:00 class that's coming up in one hour. for the literacy. >> roger, sir. tell them we have problems i agree it's important, but the soldiers will think we're taking their prayer time. >> we're only asking two days. just two days a week to educate them. if they need to go to a mosque we'll get a van and go to the mosque. but if they can make an exception and pray in class, that's good.
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okay with that? >> i've told them what time to be here, how many soldiers to be here. nobody shows. >> suarez: was that cultures colliding right there? the idea if we have a schedule and it says 4:00 you ought to be there. they sound perplexed, bewilders almost. >> in a lot of ways this is a very good moment because kirby was trying to train damage major kirby, colonel he's over there now again -- he was trying to train this guy to organize something. the guy organized something. he just didn't organize it like all the way. part of that is cultural. the prayer time in many ways it's kind of like our sunday. it's not necessarily that we're going to go to church but if somebody said you have to work on sunday, we'd want an explanation . >> suarez: you showed us both a blistering tongue lashing from a senior officer after it was found that military materials were being squirreled away in personal
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areas. let's watch. >> damned am i for being your commander. in soldier's lockers we found all kinds of things. bay nets, knives, empty clips. bullets are being sold. come to my office. i'll show you this much ammunition meant for the taliban. wouldn't it be a shame if this got you killed? wouldn't it be a disgrace if the country we took back after such sacrifice was handed back to these outlaws to destroy before our eyes? the people see this in their own army, how can they trust us? all the taliban ... i am ashamed to be your commander. thank you. >> suarez: when we see an afghan general chewing out the troops over some infraction, help us understand what
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exactly is going on there. what's he so mad about? >> well, it would seem that somebody had stolen a buchblg of bullets and a whole bunch of hope yum and had stuck it in his locker. there was not at that time a military jag officer. there was no military justice system in place. really the only way to deal with this was to do a sort of traditional humiliation of the soldier. and that's basically what he was doing. >> suarez: was there a discipline problem that you saw? >> i don't know if it's a discipline problem or a corruption problem? in our arm ear if that happened they wouldn't be soldiers anymore. when you're undermanned and trying to puff up an army, can you say it's a discipline problem that they're not
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punished for and so it happens again. >> suarez: a main character is this general , commander of the afghan army's 207th. he was a battled hardened veteran of soviet occupation and the war against the taliban. now having to work with another occupying army, this one sent to help his own forces find their way to combat readiness, some cracks in the partnership were showing. >> our american advisors give us one plan. the italians give us another. and on the special forces tell us to ignore all that and go with them on missions. if you don't trust the officers, the commanders or even the ministry of defense, then what are we all doing here? >> suarez: you can hear the frustration. the americans tell us one thing. the italians tell us another. special forces yet another. did he have a point? >> i think one of the gray myths that the afghans have about us is that if the americans do it, they must know what they're doing. it doesn't occur to them that
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perhaps we're not coordinated. >> suarez: when you left afghanistan, did that 207th look more like a cohesive fighting force where the men in arms knew what they were doing and if you gave them orders would carry them out with some efficiency? >> if you're asking whether they bee behaved like an american army, i would say no. but i think a lot of what i saw and came away feeling was not that there was so much something wrong, you know, with them as much as there was something kind of wrong with our expectations. and our capacity to translate the reality on the ground to behavior upstairs. >> suarez: professor dysinger, thanks a lot. >> thank you. >> brown: carol dysinger gathered footage for her film between 2005- 200. it was edit before the recent debate began about the timetable for withdrawal.
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her documentary airs on many pbs stations in august and september. >> ifill: again the major developments of the day. at her confirmation hearing supreme court nominee elena kagan denied there was any outright ban on military recruiters when she was dean of harvard law school. and she said new decisions upholding gun rights are binding precedent. the stock market tanked on new worries about economic growth. the dow jones industrial average fell 268 points. and the state department announced a dozen countries and international groups will assist the u.s. in dealing with the gulf oil spill. the newshour is all online. hari sreenivasan is in our news room and he previews what's there. >> sreenivasan: on supreme court nominee kagan we posed your questions to marcia coyle during our live coverage of the hearings. watch our midday q&a and check your knowledge of the senate judiciary committee on our confirmation information graphic. we get the latest on the killing of a candidate in
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mexico. we talk to correspondent amy costello of front line world. she files a follow-up piece. front line world airs on most pbs stations tonight. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. >> ifill:. >> brown: to our honor roll of american service personnel kill in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here in silence are eight more.
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>> brown: that's the newshour for tonight. i'm geoffrey brown. >> ifill: i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you for our live gavel to gavel coverage of the kagan hearings on air and online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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